Over the years, technology has brought businesses closer and closer to their customers. Companies can send an email, pop up as an ad on a social media feed, make sales calls, send notifications straight to a smartphone, and engage in any number of other activities that bring a business into a customer’s life.
Because of this, it’s simpler than ever for customers to provide feedback on the services offered by all of the brands they engage with. In turn, it’s important that companies seek to provide the best customer experience (or CX) possible. With the right CX, companies can gain, retain, and earn more money from their customers
Below, we discuss why exactly CX analysis is so critical for any business, as well as the basic steps for completing a CX analysis. We’ll also cover tools your company can use to complete a customer experience analysis.
Why CX Analysis is Critical for Your Business
Odds are any one of your customers is bombarded with options for other service-providers many times per day. As technology has brought the world closer and closer together, physical distance between customer and service provider has mattered less and less. With a world of choices available to them, how does a customer decide who to choose?
Well, according to a report by Walker Consulting, the answer is customer experience. While 86% of respondents said they were willing to pay more for a better CX, this number only grows as more choices become available to them.
Software as a Service (SaaS) is an especially useful tool for collecting customer experience data for analysis. When a customer is engaging with your software or buying your product or service, you have access to a vast array of information left behind by these customers – info on their demographic, preferred payment methods, email address, and shipping address, at the very least.
Analyzing the customer experience allows you to continuously respond to your customers and improve their experience over a process of four steps:
- Understanding how CX relates to what you do
- Identifying what parts of what you do most impact CX
- Implementing changes targeted to improve the CX
- Measuring the results of these changes to determine how best to start the process all over again
Basically, customer experience matters. It matters because, most likely, you’re not the customer’s only means of getting what they want. And because of that, you have to do something that no one else can do.
Providing the very best customer experience could make or break customer loyalty, retention, growth, or even overall success.
When you are constantly analyzing the customer experience, however, you know right away when customers aren’t happy. You know what they like and what they don’t like, and you can work towards those services that are most helpful or desirable to the customer. In this way, customers never have reason to want to leave you for another provider.
They key to this customer analysis is doing it the right way. Because CX analysis is so important, it’s a popular term and there’s all sorts of information about the best ways to do it and the best tools to help you do it correctly.
Here, we break down the process of actually performing customer experience analysis into five easy to understand steps, simplifying this large but important task:
Step 1: Finding the Right Software
Finding an analytics software platform that provides valuable insight is key. In fact, in a survey conducted by CXI Today, over 41% respondents said they use analytics to customize their customer experience:
Yet, there are a number of CX analytics programs on the market and not all of them are equal. With so many options, it’s imperative that your business finds the one best suited to your needs. Neglecting to do the necessary research could result in wasted time, wasted money, and/or inaccurate results.
There are two things you’ll need to fully clarify before deciding on the right software for you: your needs and your limitations.
Your needs include what information you’ll need to collect about your customers’ experience.
For example, you may need software that tracks how long customers stay on each web page or which categories they most commonly view when shopping. Alternatively, those factors may not matter and you may need to focus on tracking the specific demographic of your customers or what time of day they most often use or order your service or product.
Collecting information you don’t need can be confusing and take up time and even storage space that’s best used for other things. You also lose efficiency when you have to wade through unrelated data to find useful information.
Your limitations include what your employees can most efficiently and most successfully use, as well as what your business can afford or manage. A small business likely can’t afford some of the more expensive software, and businesses with vast customer lists won’t be able to use smaller services without forfeiting pre-existing data.
Likewise, will the employees who most often use the software be able to deal with something complex, or would they end up spending more time with tech support than with clients? If your employees can’t manage the software efficiently, then it isn’t worth paying for.
These are all important things to keep in mind when choosing from the many different CX analysis software options available to businesses.
Step 2: Using Customer Experience Analysis to Assess Your Current State
You can’t use a map unless you know where you’re starting out, and you can’t use customer experience analysis software to improve the customer experience unless you know what your customer experience is already like.
The second step in CX analysis is determining where you already are, and whatever software you choose can help you do this. This first analysis establishes a baseline. This makes it easier to track progress as you make changes to the customer experience. This can also help you determine what areas are most in need of change.
If customers’ primary concerns all relate to the time it takes to reach a human instead of an automated recording or a bot when they try to contact you, this could lead to your first step of shortening this response time. If your customers are most unhappy because your approach to them isn’t personalized, you can start there.
Over time, establishing and referring to this baseline can give constant feedback on how you’re doing. If all goes well, this baseline will become the bottom-most level of customer satisfaction. If one of your changes doesn’t have the intended effects, this baseline could help you determine what changes you need to undo.
Because customer experience encompasses both pre- and post-service interactions, it’s important that this baseline is measured from all necessary data to give a full picture of the situation.
This analysis will provide you not just with information about each unique engagement with your service or product, but in how these purchases or uses are linked. Are customers referring friends and coming back for more or writing poor reviews on Amazon?
Knowing where your relationship with your customers stands is important before trying to improve it. If you misread customer satisfaction and fix things they had no problem with, they may not think you’re fixing things at all.
Step 3: Informing You Customer Experience Vision and Strategy with Customer Experience Data
CX analysis isn’t a one-time thing; it’s a constant learning process and reshaping of what you think you know.
One of the main aspects of customer experience analysis is simply performance analysis. Knowing where you stand, as perceived by your customers, is an important part of knowing where you’re going.
If you’re constantly analyzing customer experience, you’ll soon have a better understanding of what you need to work on and what realistic goals are for your company. Perhaps your goal is to provide a particular service to all your customers and that they are completely happy with that one service.
By completing a CX analysis, you could find out that your customers care much more about the addition of a second, related service than they do about the first service being executed flawlessly. Alternatively, you could discover that you need to focus on the quality of one service before providing an additional one.
As you can see, the constant influx of data related to customer experience can be just as useful in re-shaping organizational goals as it can be in organizational growth. It’s important to be attentive to the changes in this data to ensure that you don’t lose customers by ignoring their needs in pursuit of your own goals.
As the old saying goes, “the customer is always right.” There’s no excuse not to listen to customers’ complaints when you have access to an analysis of their overall experience with your business or company.
Step 4: Including Personalization as You Ramp Up Customer Experience Efforts
Perhaps unfortunately for those in charge of creating a quality customer experience, no two customers are exactly the same. This means that even the most widespread of problems can and should be addressed, at some point, on a personal level. This is one of the keys to a satisfied customer – making that customer feel heard and valued.
With advances in technology, it’s become easier and easier to cater to individual customers. Business can base notifications or deals on a customer’s geographic location or send them deals on their birthday, offer them help with a feature they often have trouble with or deals on products they browse often. These personal touches can make or break a customer’s loyalty.
Of course, some personalizations really do apply to more than one customer, though they make the customer feel recognized as an individual. One suggestion for increasing the quality of customer experience, relating to how your customer support team prepares for and interacts with customers is creating personas.
Personas are imaginary people that represent different, more specific groups within your clientele. These personas are imagined as individual people, but are in fact a conglomerate of data about whole groups of data and customers. This can make the analysis of customer experience feel much more personal to those responsible for responding to it from the front lines.
Here’s a blank template of what persona might look like:
For example, one persona could be Maria. Maria is a 26-year-old Latin American female who primarily uses your services for entertainment purposes. She is tech-savvy, but doesn’t have the disposable income to spend on pricey tech gadgets. She’s been a customer since she started college 4 years back.
Another persona could be George. George is a middle-aged Caucasian male. George has a lot of disposable income but relies on his teenage son for help in actually using most of the gadgets and technology he buys. George uses your services for both entertainment and work, and has been doing so for almost a decade.
The creation of these personas can help your customer support team develop empathy for different groups of customers. It is often easier to brainstorm and solve problems for an individual than it is for a group. The creation of personas allows you to address the problem on a personal level even when that problem belongs to a group.
Step 5: Measuring Customer Experience Outcomes and Adjusting Strategy Accordingly
As we’ve mentioned before, customer experience analysis is not a one-time event or a process with an end. CX analysis is a cycle – as soon as you’ve adjusted your customer experience strategy, you should be reassessing and looking for the best ways to adjust the strategy in the future.
This is, for many, what makes customer experience analysis software so worth it. The same software continues to benefit the company as long as the company is seeking to best serve their customers.
CX analysis software doesn’t just measure customer experience at any given moment, but instead provides insight into the growth or decrease in different areas over different time periods. This can show important patterns or responses that are important to respond to quickly.
But CX analysis doesn’t just allow for damage control – it allows the user to track success and plan in real time with the customer experience.
Tools for Completing a Customer Analysis
Because customer experience analysis is such a broad and vital area, there are a plethora of options for software that could help your company. These options can be divided into three types: feedback tools, customer experience tools, and dedicated text analysis tools. Here, we discuss one of the major players among each type of tool:
Feedback tools focus specifically on providing the business with direct feedback from users or customers. These particular tools can take six different forms: voice of the customer tools, survey tools, online review tools, user testing tools, visual feedback tools, and community feedback tools.
GetFeedback is a tool that allows the user to directly ask customers about their experiences via a survey. The results from these surveys are then presented in a series of charts and other visuals. This allows the user to mix and match responses they’re interested in at any given time.
Customer Experience Tools with Built-In Analytics Functions
Some customer experience tools automatically collect data as the customer engages with the system. Usually, this is a less direct ask than a survey tool. Then, the results are analyzed in pre-established areas to give the business a better understanding of their customers’ experiences.
Customer experience tools with built-in analytic functions include software like CRMs, or Customer Relationship Management tools.
One such CRM is Zoho, which claims to “engage prospects, automate your sales process, and close more deals.” Zoho also allows users to send out surveys to customers or to collect their information in other ways. They also present the analyzed data in a visual format so that progress or results can be seen quickly by those in charge of maintaining it.
Dedicated Text Analysis Tools
What most find to be the problem with both of the aforementioned types of CX analysis tools is that the data doesn’t fit neatly into spreadsheets or graphs. In fact, much of the information possible to collect from customers is text-based, not numeric, and isn’t easily compared to other data.
When this is the case, many choose to use tools that are created specifically to analyze freeform text. These tools sift through the words and data and organize it into something legible and digestible.
One of these text analysis tools is Wonderflow, which works to make sense of the data pouring in from different formats, languages, and contexts. Wonderflow takes this data in, sifts through it, organizes it, and analyzes it to make sure businesses don’t lose any important feedback in the midst of the sheer volume of the daily feedback.
Wonderflow looks at data from a variety of sources that includes a company’s own website as well as reviews from Amazon, Walmart, Target, and other retailers.
For an inside look at how Wonderflow analyzes unstructured text, take a look at this customer review.
Now That You Know About Customer Experience Analysis
Now that you’ve seen how important CX analysis is and that it’s as simple as 5 short steps, there’s no reason started assessing your customer experience today.
The survival of your business depends on how well you respond to and improve your customer’s experience. Remember: find the right software, assess your current state, change your vision and approach, personalize it, and repeat.
The customer experience analysis journey is never over, because you should constantly be adjusting your services based on customer input. But the best time to start this cycle is now.